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WBZ-TV reporter Bill Shields is retiring after 41 years at the station

WBZ-TV reporter Bill Shields.
WBZ-TV reporter Bill Shields.Matthew Hakola

Bill Shields, a longtime WBZ-TV reporter known for his lively wit and humor, will be retiring on Sept. 24.

Just don’t call him legendary.

“Legendary is a nice way of saying you’re old,” he said, laughing.

Shields, 69, has been a familiar face on WBZ-TV for 41 years and has covered all kinds of stories, from wild weather to organized crime to presidential elections to his own battle with cancer.

Since joining the station in 1980, Shields has established himself as a smart, seasoned street reporter who is willing to report from anywhere to bring the story to viewers.

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Shields is also known for making the best of situations. In one memorable segment from 2017, Shields reported from Plymouth in the middle of a snowstorm where he was getting battered by whipping winds.

“Don’t you love sideways snow? I have always loved sideways snow,” he quipped. “.... the snow’s falling sideways, it feels like needles going into your face. I wish I was surfing today!”

Shields holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Texas. Prior to joining WBZ-TV, he was a reporter for KENS-TV in San Antonio from 1977 to 1980. He also worked as a photographer and reporter for KTVV-TV and as a reporter for KHFI radio in Austin.

When Shields decided to make a move to a bigger market, he sent out resume tapes to several stations and ultimately fell in love with Boston.

“I just looked around and saw that I was surrounded by history,” said Shields. “I fell in love with the city.”

Shields joined WBZ-TV in 1980 and began covering all kinds of stories.

One of his favorite assignments was doing a multi-part story about underwater treasure hunters in Key West.

“That was the most fun story,” he said. “The water was crystal clear. My job was to keep the barracudas away.”

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Shields is passionate about telling stories. He thrives on being out and about, where things are happening, and makes people feel at ease when he’s interviewing them.

“Believe it or not, I don’t like being in front of a camera! Makes me uncomfortable....I just like reporting... telling stories,” he said.

Shields said it’s hard to imagine not reporting, and that if he comes across an intriguing human interest story after he retires, he’ll be more than willing to jump on it.

“I don’t need to get paid,” he said. “I just want to tell the story.”

Shields credits the photographers he’s worked with during his career, and said he couldn’t have done it without them.

“I’ve worked with so many great photographers over the years. It’s a team effort. I don’t tell a story without photographers. I’ve worked with some great ones,” he said.

“We’ve had so much as fun. No one deserves to have as much fun as I have had in my career. It’s been a lot. As the Grateful Dead say, it’s been a long strange trip,” he said with a laugh.



Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.